The U.S. Corps of Engineers intends to move forward with a project that includes dumping excavated soil in the Missouri River north of Arrow Rock, Mo.
The soil comes from modification of a 1-mile long chute designed to provide shallow water habitat for the endangered pallid sturgeon fish.
Just under a dozen groups, including Missouri Farm Bureau, sent a letter to Governor Jay Nixon requesting he take action to prevent the Corps from discharging soil from the chute area into the Missouri River and to force the Corps to modify its current work plan for Jameson Island such that all excavated soil from the proposed 200-foot width is removed from the chute meander belt area.
“The Corps should be informed that for the construction of chutes to comply with Missouri’s anti-degradation rules, conditions of nationwide permits and construction management guidelines that any of the soil intended to be removed from the chutes must be placed far enough away from the chute so as not to fall into the river,” the letter states.
The current practice of depositing excavated soil into the river near the Jameson Island chute contradicts long-standing efforts, including investment of the 1/10th cent soil and parks tax, which have had success in promoting soil conservation practices.
The groups say questions remain about the aquatic benefits of chutes, but they are not opposed to the purpose of this project as modifications to the existing chute are necessary to prevent further damage to a levee opposite the existing outlet. The letter continues, “We believe the current chute can be realigned to achieve the stated goal of developing shallow water habitat without depositing the soil into the Missouri River.”
Signing the letter were: MFA Incorporated, Missouri Agribusiness Association (MO-AG), Missouri Cattlemen’s Association, Missouri Corn Growers Association, Missouri Dairy Association, Missouri Farm Bureau, Missouri Levee & Drainage District Association, Missouri Pork Association, Missouri Soybean Association and the Upper Mississippi, Illinois & Missouri Rivers Association (UMIMRA).
Press Release, September 2, 2013